Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Fred Coon, CEO of Stewart, Cooper & Coon, Inc., located in Phoenix, AZ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a human Capital Resources Company. We have four operating divisions: Executive Placement, Board of Directors Branding, Military Transition (C-Tap, E-Tap, and GO-TAP), and Retained Search.

Tell us about yourself

25+ years ago, I started this company. I partnered with a man who trained me and became a retained search recruiter. As I was learning about retained search, I interviewed great talent. However, they were not receiving interviews; they were not getting good offers , and they were only securing marginally better financial packages. Having been a senior contributor in two different companies, and having helped put those companies, multiple times each, in Inc. Magazine's Top 500 fastest growing companies in America, I understood successful product and service marketing. With these executives I was interviewing, I discovered that they thought finding a job was all about job search. What it is really about is proper product marketing. So, I developed a unique approach that worked. As I grew the company, I was blessed to put together a team of advisors, outstanding coaches and marketing experts. 5,000+ clients later we enjoy the fact that our clients get jobs faster than their peers and that their financial packages are significantly higher. What motivates me? Every time one of my clients is placed, I feel really, really good and so proud of my team - that's my definition of personal satisfaction. We have helped another person achieve their life, personal, and financial goals.  I am very proud of the men and women on the SC&C team that make these miracles happen.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Keeping the company going and functioning without a loss of quality during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Lots of companies didn't make it. We did, thanks to a fabulous team who were willing to do what it took to keep going until the danger passed. On a personal note, I am very honored to be the authorized sub-contractor to train retiring USAF General Officers who are transitioning from their distinguished military careers and proud service to our country to the private, non-military sectors of our economy. They are so willing to learn and just great people to be around.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I can't speak for others, but I tend to be creative and want to try new things, and years ago, I would just come up with ideas, ask the team to implement them, and without regard to cost. Now, I've learned to ask a lot of questions, and I've empowered my team to put some hard questions to me. Some delight me, some force me back to my drawing board, which is what should happen. Empowerment is a powerful force for success. Empowerment gives them a stake in producing successful outcomes. This is a "sleep good at night," everyone wins approach.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. If you think something will cost X, multiply that by a minimum of 4-6 times. You never have enough discretionary cash flow.
  2. Spend frugally.
  3. Hire experts for specific items and use their knowledge. The trick is to screen them VERY carefully before you pull the financial trigger. Take your time and don't rush into anything that seems too good; it probably is only medium, at best. Don't let your enthusiasm for your project or idea overpower your common sense.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Be kind to people. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Maintain your honor and integrity above all else - you really have nothing but that to take to your grave.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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